Unique Catholic Evangelization Center Launches Mission to Educate, Train and Invite

December 2, 2010

MADISON, N.J.,  (MetroCatholic)“The essential mission of the Catholic Church is evangelization,” said Rev. Geno Sylva, S.T.D., Executive Director of St. Paul Inside the Walls Catholic Center, and Vicar for Evangelization for the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey. “St. Paul Inside the Walls is a one-of-a-kind center facilitating that mission by offering programs and events that provide the faithful with the necessary tools to move our Church from a mindset of maintenance, to that of mission.”

Brought forth from the vision of Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, S.T.D., S.S.L., D.D., St. Paul Inside the Walls serves as a unifying force within the Diocese of Paterson. Housed on the former campus of Bayley-Ellard High School in Madison, N.J., the sprawling former mansion and school building underwent extensive renovations in the two years prior to the September 2010 dedication. The Center has since launched 43 training and outreach programs, including those for catechists and parents of children with autism, for Catholic grandparents, for Catholics in recovery, and a Diaconate training program.

“St. Paul Inside the Walls is really a halfway house for God, and a clearing house for ministries,” said Rev. Sylva. “We study society and then devise creative ways to engage people where they are in life. Whether through a program that celebrates the Catholic tradition of communicating God’s love through art and music, through an outreach to homeschooling families, or through a healing ministry for post-abortive women, the goal is to invite individuals into a deeper relationship with Christ.”

A unique aspect of the Center has been its mission of ministry training through evangelization. “By training individuals for God’s work through the optic of evangelization, they – and in turn, their parishes – become more alive with the vibrancy that comes from inserting the Gospel teachings into everyday life,” said Rev. Sylva. “By gathering Catholic medical professionals, lawyers, and business leaders, and sharing pertinent Catholic teachings with them, American Culture will be transformed. The Center helps Catholics to recognize that they must courageously bring the Gospel into contemporary culture. As Bishop Serratelli says, ‘a church that is not growing, is dying.’

“As Catholics, we must recognize and respond in faithful, yet dynamic ways to the ever changing challenges in our society,” Rev. Sylva continued. “St. Paul Inside the Walls is entering into that mission field, proposing the beauty of our Catholic faith to a world in desperate need of Truth.”

For more information on St. Paul Inside the Walls, visit: www.insidethewalls.org.

Basic Catholic Rules On Indulgences

November 29, 2010

Bridegroom Press
November 2010

“I remember indulgences from when I was a kid!” Many people mention this, and the people who do always have questions.

Where Has The Time Gone?
When we learned about indulgences twenty, thirty, forty or more years ago, we remember how the nuns explained it to us: doing an indulgence got us time off purgatory. We didn’t know exactly what that meant, but it sounded like a good deal.

God bless the nuns, but they either deliberately misled us because they didn’t think we would understand the real explanation, or they didn’t know the real explanation themselves. Prior to Vatican II, all indulgences had a certain amount of time associated with them - saying this prayer or doing that deed was worth 300 days, or 10 years or somesuch. But the time listed was never meant to refer to time in Purgatory. It was a little more complicated than that.

Long, Long Ago…
You see, in the very early Church, the first 300 to 400 years, the sacrament of reconciliation was not celebrated as commonly as it is now. In fact, it was unusual to receive it as often as once every five or ten years. Everyone who entered the Church came in as adults - while the Church was happy to baptize children if the parents wanted, She spent most of her time teaching pagan adults the Faith.
If I were a pagan adult who was interested in becoming Christian, I would probably take between three and five solid years of instruction, being taught every day, practicing the Faith every day, having the community watch me practice every day. Everyone knew my name, and I would learn everyone’s name myself. Only after the whole community had seen me prepare and felt I was ready, only then would I be permitted to enter the Church.

The Church took this long because the bishop and the community wanted to make sure I really understood what I was getting into. They also wanted to make sure that I understood all the responsibilities I was undertaking. They wanted to see a real conversion in the way I approached the world, a real hunger for baptism and the washing away of sins.

Penance IS Purgation
What’s this got to do with indulgences? Well, once I was finally permitted to be baptized, the power of that baptism combined with the pre- and post-baptismal instruction was supposed to make me so solid in Christ Jesus that I would never commit another mortal sin.

Sure, I would be tempted - that went without saying. But I was not expected to commit any more mortal sins. I was an adult, I was giving my word to God that I had left that life of sin behind me, and God gave me His grace to empower me so that I would no longer succumb, so why would I sin?

And if I did commit a mortal sin, then I needed to show real remorse for it in order to demonstrate to the community that I had no plans to repeat the experience. So, if I had gone to confession in the early Church, this is the kind of penance I might receive: “Well, you’ve made a good confession,” the bishop might say, “so I will give you a light penance. For the next two years, you are not permitted to attend Mass or receive the Eucharist. Instead, you will spend every Sunday walking around the Church, praying the penitential Psalms while we are celebrating Mass.

Then, for the two years following that, you may attend Mass through the Gospel reading, but when all the unbaptized are ushered out of the Church after that Gospel reading, you will go with them and again walk about the courtyard praying the penitential Psalms.”

“If you do this faithfully, then for the two years following that, you are permitted to be present for the consecration, but you must be face down in front of the community, reciting the penitential Psalms.

And if all of this goes well and you continue to show true and deep remorse, then following this, you may be admitted to the Eucharist once again. Go in peace, my son.”

An eight or ten year penance was not at all uncommon. For certain sins, like murder or participation in abortion, you might be  told to perform penance for the rest of your life, not permitted to receive the Eucharist again until you lay dying.

A VERY Sweet Deal
So, the time periods associated with the indulgenced prayers were not meant to be time off purgatory after death, rather, they were indications that the Church had remitted the normal, early penance of 300 days or ten years in exchange for your saying this one prayer. She was promising to release to you the grace you would otherwise have had to spend a decade in prayer to win. Obviously, this was a pretty sweet deal. There was only one problem.

No one understood or seemed to remember the connection between the early penances and the current time values associated with indulgences. Instead, the faithful were getting a fairly silly understanding of how Purgatory and indulgences worked. Ultimately, after Vatican II, the Church threw up her hands and said, “Never mind the time periods. Every indulgence is just partial or plenary now. You can either win back for the world some of the grace you took out of it (partial) or all of the grace you took out of it.”

What Indulgences Count?
This leaves an obvious question. What do we do with all those old holy cards we have that say we get 300 days off? The Church also answered that question.
Since indulgences are matters of particular law, no prayer is indulgenced unless the Church says it is. Every generation or so, the Church releases a new handbook listing all the indulgences for which She opens the treasury of heaven.
These indulgences are listed in the Handbook of Indulgences, and that Handbook (aka Enchiridion) supercedes all previous rules. So, if you have an old holy card or book (like a Raccolta) that lists indulgences, none of those prayers carry the indulgence described unless that prayer also happens to be in the latest list from Rome.

And even if the prayer you are looking at is in the latest list, it no longer carries the indulgence the old list said it had. Now, it has only the indulgence - partial or plenary - that the Church has most recently assigned it. Don’t worry too much, though. All of the prayers have been retained with at least a partial indulgence. It’s only the plenary indulgences that may have been altered in a significant way.

So, if you want to do an indulgenced work or pray an indulgenced prayer, you have to have the latest handbook (currently, a translation of the 1999 edition) or you can use the prayers and acts conveniently described in the latest edition of the Beauty of Grace, Calendar of Indulgences 2010. We’ve gone through the book and laid out the rules in an easy-to-use calendar, so you don’t have to worry about all the details in the book. You can find it at www.bridegroompress.com

We hope you like it. We certainly enjoyed putting it together. Now, go and get some purgatory time out of the way.

Steve Kellmeyer
Bridegroom Press

NOTE BY FR. LOMBARDI CONCERNING A NEW BOOK ON THE POPE

November 22, 2010

VATICAN CITY (VIS) — Given below is the text of a note issued by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. concerning certain remarks by the Pope on the use of condoms, which appear the new book “Light of the World”.

“At the end of chapter eleven of the book ‘Light of the World’ the Pope responds to two questions about the battle against AIDS and the use of condoms, questions that reconnect with the discussions that arose in the wake of certain statements the Pope made on this subject during the course of his 2009 trip to Africa.

“The Pope again makes it clear that his intention was not to take up a position on the problem of condoms in general; his aim, rather was to reaffirm with force that the problem of AIDS cannot be solved simply by distributing condoms, because much more needs to be done: prevention, education, help, advice, accompaniment, both to prevent people from falling ill and to help them if they do.

“The Pope observes that even in the non-ecclesial context an analogous awareness has developed, as is apparent in the so-called ABC theory (Abstinence - Be Faithful - Condom), in which the first two elements (abstinence and fidelity) are more decisive and fundamental in the battle against AIDS, while condoms take last place, as a way out when the other two are absent. It should thus be clear that condoms are not the solution to the problem.

“The Pope then broadens his perspective and insists that focusing only on condoms is equivalent to trivialising sexuality, which thus loses its meaning as an expression of love between persons and becomes a ‘drug’. This struggle against the trivialisation of sexuality is ‘part of the great effort to ensure that sexuality is positively valued and is able to exercise a positive effect on man in his entirety’.

“In the light of this broad and profound vision of human sexuality and the problems it currently faces, the Pope reaffirms that ‘the Church does not of course consider condoms to be the authentic and moral solution’ to the problem of AIDS.

“In this the Pope does not reform or change Church teaching, but reaffirms it, placing it in the perspective of the value and dignity of human sexuality as an expression of love and responsibility.

“At the same time the Pope considers an exceptional circumstance in which the exercise of sexuality represents a real threat to another person’s life. In such a case, the Pope does not morally justify the disordered practice of sexuality but maintains that the use of a condom to reduce the danger of infection can be ‘a first act of responsibility’, ‘a first step on the road toward a more human sexuality’, rather than not using it and exposing the other person to a mortal risk.

“In this, the reasoning of the Pope certainly cannot be defined as a revolutionary change.

“Many moral theologians and authoritative ecclesiastical figures have supported and support similar positions; it is nevertheless true that we have not heard this with such clarity from the mouth of the Pope, even in an informal and non-magisterial form.

“Thus Benedict XVI courageously makes an important contribution to help us clarify and more deeply understand a long-debated question. His is an original contribution, because, on the one hand, it remains faithful to moral principles and transparently refutes illusory paths such as that of ‘faith in condoms’; on the other hand, however, it manifests a comprehensive and farsighted vision, attentive to recognising the small steps (though only initial and still confused) of an often spiritually- and culturally-impoverished humanity, toward a more human and responsible exercise of sexuality”.

Priests for Life congratulates new USCCB leaders

November 16, 2010

BALTIMORE, Md (MetroCatholic) — Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented on the election of New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz as vice-president.

“Priests for Life congratulates Archbishop Dolan and Archbishop Kurtz on their new responsibilities. Those responsibilities constitute a special form of service to their brother and prayers.

“It is important for the faithful to understand that the role of President of the USCCB is not to be ‘the leader of Catholics in the United States.’ Each diocese has its own bishop, and that bishop reports to the Pope. The local bishop is the leader of Catholics in his diocese. The USCCB is a tool that assists collaboration, sharing, and certain joint activities.

“Both Archbishop Dolan and Archbishop Kurtz have been unequivocal in their defense of the unborn, which for our ministry is the primary focus. They have welcomed and encouraged the work of Priests for Life, and for that we are grateful.”

www.priestsforlife.org

“The Spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit.” (2 Tim. 1:7)

Mexican archdiocese encourages Catholic traditions on Halloween

October 29, 2010

Mexico City, Mexico (CNA) — The Archdiocese of Xalapa, Mexico has called on the faithful to preserve Catholic traditions associated with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day amid the increasing celebration of Halloween in the country.

The archdiocese noted that the two feast days are traditionally celebrated in Mexico with symbolic decorations and colorful flowers “to remind us that the feast of All Saints is upon us.”

“Our homes are decorated with colors that are very typical of Mexico, especially the decorations we place upon our altars to renew the tradition of drawing near to our dear faithful departed,” the statement said.

The archdiocese urged Mexican Catholics to reinforce their traditions “that bring families together and foster peace with each other. In this case we need to preserve these traditions from the invasion and commercialization of Halloween.”

“These feast days are not supposed to be an occasion to dress up as monsters or to frighten others with the most violent costumes we can find.  This is not in harmony with the spirit of these traditions” and does not “foster peace.”

Instead, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day “provide us an opportunity to reflect on the theme of death,” which remains a “mystery” and “reflection of our condition as humans and our limitations,” the archdiocese stated.

The archdiocese also rejected the veneration of “St. Death,” a practice in some parts of Mexico. “Personal death is the only death that exists, and our Lord Jesus Christ has rescued us from it with his glorious resurrection.”

“Let us revive our traditions by decorating our altars for the faithfully departed, visiting the places of final rest, sharing in the traditional dishes of these celebrations and adorning our homes and churches with Mexican colors,” the statement concluded.

Over 2000 Pro-life advocates in Dallas outside late-term abortion center

October 26, 2010

Dallas, Texas (MetroCatholic)- Since September 22, more than 2000 pro-life advocates have prayed to stop the abortions up to 24 weeks (6 months) of pregnancy occurring at the Southwestern late-term abortion center at the NE corner of Greenville Avenue and Royal Lane.  Dallas citizens have participated in this 24/7 peaceful, prayerful vigil to end abortion as part of the national 40 Days for Life campaign.  “The response to this year’s campaign has been incredible,” says co-coordinator of the Dallas campaign, Lauren Muzyka.  “We have seen upwards of 300 people on the sidewalk at one time to demonstrate that this wound on our community cannot be tolerated, including many participants who have stayed multiple hours through the night and some who have remained at the vigil for 24 hours straight.”

The new late-term abortion center opened its doors in October 2009.  The facility is run by long-time abortionist Curtis Boyd, who has a deep-rooted abortion history in Dallas since 1973 when he opened and began performing abortions at the first abortion center in Dallas and the state of Texas.  Boyd has admitted to 300,000 abortions performed in his Dallas and Albuquerque, New Mexico facilities since 1973, and in a shocking revelation, stated in a television interview, “Am I killing?  Yes, I am.  I know that.”

Since the opening of Southwestern, two crisis pregnancy centers have taken up residency nearby:  White Rose Women’s Center, located diagonally across the street from Southwestern, and Birth Choice, located in the very same business complex as Southwestern.  Campaign co-coordinator and sidewalk counselor Joanne Underwood noted that with “the crisis pregnancy centers and the prayer and counseling presence on the sidewalks, Boyd and his abortuary are surrounded by the pro-life message.  And as Dallas faithful of all ages and many denominations have joined to stand vigil during 40 Days for Life, that message has been even more resounding.”

The national 40 Days for Life campaign reports 445 mothers making a decision for life for their unborn babies scheduled for abortion deaths in the 238 cities where 40 Days vigils are being held.  This includes 12 mothers choosing life outside the Southwestern late-term abortion center in Dallas.  A Victory Celebration to celebrate the lives saved and hearts converted during this fall’s campaign will be held Monday, November 1, at 7:00 p.m. at the Shiloh Worship Center of Garland.

To learn more about 40 Days for Life-Dallas, visit: www.40daysforlife.com/dallas.

For assistance or for more information, please contact Becky Visosky, Director of Communications of the sponsoring organization, the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas, at [email protected] or 972-267-LIFE (5433).

Heads of Irish archdioceses, Apostolic Visitors hopeful for successful visitation

October 7, 2010

Rome, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) — The four metropolitan archbishops of Ireland met with the apostolic visitors chosen by the Holy Father to carry out visitations in their archdioceses for the first time this week. After two days of meetings, the participants are “hopeful” that their work will be a means to purify and heal the Catholic Church of Ireland and “help to restore the trust and hope of the faithful there.”

According to a statement from the Holy See’s Press Office, meetings took place from Oct. 5-6. The prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet and the dicastery’s secretary, Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, held the meetings along with other Vatican representatives.

The visitors and the respective archdioceses subject to visitation are Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor to Armagh, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M., to Dublin; Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins to Cashel and Emly and Archbishop Terrence Thomas Prendergast, S.J., to Tuam.

The archbishops for these four jurisdictions are Cardinal Sean B. Brady for Armagh; Diarmuid Martin for Dublin; Dermot Clifford for Cashel and Emly and Michael Neary for Tuam.

During the first day’s preparatory meeting at which they were all present and “(m)indful of the tragic abuse of children that has taken place in Ireland,” participants discussed aspects of the visitation.

As per the Holy Father’s Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, it will be of a “pastoral” nature, “intended to assist the local Church on her path of renewal” and, read the statement, it “is a sign of the Holy Father’s desire, as the Successor of Peter, to offer his pastoral solicitude to the Church in Ireland.”

The communique also described the contact visitors will have with members of the Irish Church, affirming that they will be giving “particular attention to victims of abuse and their families, but will also meet with and listen to a variety of people, including ecclesiastical authorities, lay faithful and those involved with the crucial work of safeguarding of children.”

To begin to the second day, Irish archbishops celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit with the visitors and participating members of the Congregation for Bishops and the Holy See’s Secretariat of State. All met after Mass to summarize the first day’s discussions and decide how to organize the visitation to each of the archdioceses. According to the official statement, the meeting was “marked by fraternal warmth and mutual collaboration.”

Following the meetings, concluded the statement, all who took part asserted that they “are hopeful that this significant endeavor will be an instrument of purification and healing for the Church in Ireland and help to restore the trust and hope of the faithful there.”

Bishop Vasa: Individual Bishops Trump Conference Every Time

September 23, 2010

By Patrick B. Craine

(LifeSiteNews.com) - The authority of the Catholic bishop within his own diocese trumps the national bishops’ conference and “no bishop has an obligation” to adopt the conference’s documents, asserted Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon in a landmark talk last week.

“Such documents do not become normative for a particular diocese unless the bishop, either explicitly or implicitly, recommends them,” he told the 2010 InsideCatholic Partnership Award Dinner last Thursday.

Catholic bishops who boldly promote life and family in their diocese have often been condemned for acting more strongly than the national conference of bishops (USCCB), for example by refusing Communion to pro-abortion politicians.  Similarly, pro-life and pro-family advocates have long complained that conference statements are vague and confusing, even misleading.

Deal Hudson of InsideCatholic said Bishop Vasa is the first U.S. bishop he is aware of to tackle “the prevalent misunderstanding” over the relation between the authority of the individual bishop versus that of the USCCB.  Judie Brown, president of American Life League and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, agreed.  “Having been involved in this for over 35 years, I can tell you that this speech is long overdue,” she said.

According to Bishop Vasa, statements from bishops’ conferences necessarily tend to be “flattened” and “vague,” allowing certain teachings to “fall by the wayside through what could be called, charitably, a kind of benign pastoral neglect.”

While some call this compassion, “in truth, it often entails a complicity or a compromise with evil,” he says.  “The harder and less popular teachings are left largely unspoken, thereby implicitly giving tacit approval to erroneous or misleading theological opinions.”

“I fear that there has been such a steady diet of such flattened documents that anything issued by individual bishops that contains some element of strength,” he says, “is readily and roundly condemned or simply dismissed as being out of touch with the conference or in conflict with what other bishops might do.”

This matter has often come up in the realm of life and family issues.  For example, during the 2008 U.S. federal election campaign Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton was forced to assert his episcopal authority within his diocese after a liberal group used the USCCB document on voting (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship) to argue that Catholics can vote for a pro-abortion candidate.

“No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese,” he insisted, telling them they should have discussed his own pastoral letter where he insisted that Catholics must vote pro-life.

Likewise, while the USCCB has allowed distribution of Communion to pro-abortion politicians – contrary to a letter sent them by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the time of their deliberation – numerous bishops, such as Archbishop Raymond Burke, when he was in St. Louis, have forbidden it.

According to Bishop Vasa, pastoral documents “are open to a broad range of interpretation and misinterpretation. … A charge could be brought that such documents are intentionally vague and misleading.”

“While I have had an occasional suspicion of this myself, it would be a serious defect of charity on my part to speculate about whether this is actually the case,” he continued.  “I would say that the vagueness, whether intentional or not, has occasionally been a cause of concern and even consternation.”

While he says the conference is “both practical and desirable” for communication and joint efforts such as liturgical translations and disaster relief, Bishop Vasa notes there is “room for concern about the tendency of the conference to take on a life of its own and to begin to replace or displace the proper role of individual bishops, even in their own dioceses.”

“It is easy to forget that the conference is the vehicle to assist bishops in cooperating with each other and not a separate regulatory commission,” he added.  Further, he noted that “there may also be an unfortunate tendency on the part of bishops to abdicate to the conference a portion of their episcopal role and duty.”

Compared to the “flattened documents” that often result from “the search for consensus,” statements from individual bishops, he says, “are often stronger, bolder, more decisive, and thus more likely to be criticized as harsh and insensitive.”

Gentle appeals have their place, he says, “but when constant appeal produces absolutely no movement toward self-correction, reform or conversion, then reproving and correcting, become necessary.”

“At some point, there needs to be a bold resistance to the powers of the world in defense of the flock,” he continues.  “The fear of offending one contemptuously dissident member of the flock often redounds to a failure to defend the flock. It can redound to a failure to teach the truth.”

“Fortunately, courage is contagious,” he notes, pointing to the examples of courage provided by prelates such as Archbishop Raymond Burke, and Bishops Joseph Martino, Thomas Tobin, Thomas Olmsted, and Fabian Bruskewitz.  “These men all encourage you, and they encourage me as well,” he says.

“On the issues of life and marriage, many Catholics want a strong voice and one that is prophetic,” said Deal Hudson.  “They don’t want the voice of some committee trying to be diplomatic to everybody.”

Judie Brown said Bishop Vasa has sent “a cannon over the bow of the USCCB,” putting the conference bureaucracy “in the proper perspective.”  “They aren’t teachers of the Catholic faith, they are not shepherds, and they are literally destroying the Church by misrepresenting Catholic teaching,” she said.

Find the full address at the InsideCatholic website here.

PAPAL INTERVIEW DURING THE FLIGHT TO THE UNITED KINGDOM

September 17, 2010

VATICAN CITY (VIS) - As is the tradition on his apostolic trips abroad, during his flight to the United Kingdom the Holy Father answered questions from the journalists accompanying him on the papal aircraft.

One journalist asked the Pope if he was worried about the discussions and contrasting opinions that have marked preparations for his trip. “The tradition of the country has included strong anti-Catholic views. Are you concerned about how you will be received?”

Benedict XVI replied: “I must say that I am not worried because when I went to France it was said that it was the most anti-clerical of countries, with strong anti-clerical currents and a minimum number of faithful, and when I went to the Czech Republic it was also said that it was the most irreligious and anticlerical country of Europe. … Of course, Great Britain has its own history of anti-Catholicism, that much is obvious, but it is also a country with a great history of tolerance. Thus I am certain that there will be a generally positive welcome from Catholics and believers, attention from those from those who seek to progress in our time, and mutual respect and tolerance where there is anti-Catholicism. I hope to carry on courageously and joyfully”.

The second question was: “The United Kingdom, like many other Western countries, is considered to be a secular State. There is a strong culturally-motivated atheist movement. Nonetheless, there are also signs that religious faith - particularly faith in Jesus Christ - remains alive at a personal level. What does this mean for Catholics and Anglicans? Can anything be done to make the Church a more credible and attractive institution?”

“In my view”, the Pope replied, “a Church which seeks above all to be attractive is already on the wrong path, because the Church does not work for herself, she does not work to increase her numbers and her power. The Church is at the service of Another. She serves not herself, not to become strong; rather, she serves to make the announcement of Jesus Christ more accessible: the great truths, the great powers of love and reconciliation which appeared in Him and which always come from the presence of Jesus Christ. … In this sense its seems to me that Anglicans and Catholics have a simple task, the same task, the same direction to follow. If Anglicans and Catholics see that neither is an end unto themselves, but that they are both instruments of Christ (’friend of the bridegroom’ as St. John says); if both follow Christ’s priorities and not their own, then they come together because those priorities unite them. They are no longer rivals, each searching for more followers, they are joined in their commitment to the truth of Christ which comes into this world. Thus do they also reciprocally discover authentic and fruitful ecumenism”.

The third question put to the Pope focused on how to restore trust among the faithful following the sex abuse scandals.

“In the first place, I have to say that these revelations were a shock to me, a source of great sadness. It is difficult to understand how this perversion of the priestly ministry was possible. The priest at the moment of ordination, having prepared for years for that moment, says yes to Christ, becoming His voice, His mouth, His hand, and serving Him with all his life so that the Good Shepherd Who loves, helps and leads us to truth may be present in the world. It is difficult to understand how a man who has done and said these things can fall into this perversion. It is very sad. It is also sad that the Church authorities were not sufficiently vigilant, not quick and decisive enough in taking the necessary measures. For all these reasons we are now in a time of penance, humility and renewed sincerity. … As concerns the victims, I would like to make three important points. … How can we make reparation, what can we do to help these people overcome their trauma, rediscover life and faith in the message of Christ? Concern and commitment to the victims is the first priority, with material psychological and spiritual assistance. The second question is the problem of the guilty, ensuring they receive just punishment, that they have no possibility of approaching young people, because we know that this is a disease and free will cannot function where the disease exists. Thus we must protect these people from themselves, find ways to help them and protect them from themselves, excluding them from all access to young people. The third point concerns prevention through education and the selection of candidates to the priesthood; vigilance so that as far as humanly possible future cases are avoided. I would also like to take this moment to thank British bishops for their attention and collaboration, both with the See of St. Peter and with the public authorities, and for their concern towards the victims. I feel the British episcopate has done and continues to do a great job, and I am very grateful to them”.

“The figure of Cardinal Newman”, noted another journalist, “is very important for you, to the extent that you are taking the exceptional step of presiding at his beatification. Do you feel that his memory can help to overcome divisions between Anglicans and Catholics? What aspects of his personality do you wish to emphasise most?”

“Cardinal Newman is above all”, the Holy Father said, “a modern man who experienced all the problems of modernity, who also lived the problem of agnosticism, the impossibility of knowing God and believing. … I would also highlight these three elements: The modernity of his life, with all the doubts and problems of our lives today. His immense culture; his knowledge of the great treasures of human culture and his permanent readiness to study and renew that knowledge. His spirituality; his spiritual life and his life with God. These things make him an exceptional man of our time. Thus his figure appears as a doctor of the Church for us and for everyone, as well as being a bridge between Anglicans and Catholics”.

The final question was: “This visit is considered as being a ‘State visit’. Are there important points of agreement with the UK authorities, particularly in view of the great challenges facing the world today?”

The Pope replied: “I am very grateful to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who wished to give this visit the rank of State visit, thus expressing its public nature as well as the joint responsibility of politics and religion for the future of the continent and the future of humanity. [We have] a great and joint responsibility to ensure that the values that create justice and politics - values that come from religion - proceed together in our time. Of course, the fact that this is a State visit does not make it a political event, because if the Pope is a head of State this is only a tool to guarantee the independence of his announcement and the public nature of his work as pastor, In this sense, a State visit always remains, substantially and essentially, a pastoral visit”.

Church’s position on gay adoption remains firm, asserts archdiocese

August 24, 2010

Mexico City, Mexico  (CNA) — The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City, Father Hugo Valdemar, clarified this week that recent statements by the archdiocese’s assistant director for radio and television did not reveal conflict within the Church regarding homosexual adoption.

In an interview with CNA , Fr. Valdemar explained that the remarks by Fr. Jose de Jesus Aguilar Valdes, assistant director for radio and television, “in no way imply the withdrawal of support for Cardinal Sandoval. The Archdiocese of Mexico City continues firm in its position of his defense as has the entire Mexican episcopate.”

Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara made headlines recently for accusing the mayor of Mexico City of bribing the country’s Supreme Court justices to rule in favor of same-sex marriage and gay adoption. The mayor has since filed a defamation suit against the cardinal.

Fr. Valdemar added that Fr. Aguilar’s comments were distorted by the media.

The Archdiocese of Mexico City’s news service published an interview this week, clarifying that in Fr. Aguilar’s previous comments, he discussed “the Church’s position on marriage between a man and a woman …  and the importance that the family be based on a father and a mother.” The priest added that the Catholic Church “does not reject homosexuals, but  invites them to seek salvation.”

In the latest interview, Fr. Aguilar criticized the media for deliberately “taking my ideas out of context or changing some of my words in order to cause a scandal from something I did not say.” Only a few in the media have “acted with objectivity and have made an effort to give context to the Church’s rejection of adoption by same-sex couples.”

He rejected claims that he suggested the Archdiocese of Mexico City supports gay adoption. Fr. Aguilar explained that he had previously mentioned to the media a case in which he “met a homosexual person who raised a child.  He never expressed his sexual preferences to the child and was never in relationship while he raised him.

“I mentioned that he adopted him under the old laws and as a single person,” however “this anecdote was taken out of context.”

“I was quoted as saying I knew numerous gay couples who raised children who came out fine.  This is false,” the priest said.

Fr. Aguilar emphasized that there is no disagreement between the Archdiocese of Mexico City and Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez. “Both Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera as well as the bishops of the Mexican episcopate have expressed solidarity with the Archbishop of Guadalajara in his vital defense of life and family values,” Father Aguilar said.

“For my part I am faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and her shepherds,” he continued.  “The Church loves homosexuals and offers all the means for them to achieve salvation.  I regret that the Church’s charity is being misinterpreted with the passage of laws that contravene the ideal of the family,” the priest said.

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